Scouting: Grady Diangana
The West Ham loanee tearing up the Championship.
Yet another star from the West Ham academy, Grady Diangana is aged only 22 and is currently playing on loan for Championship side West Brom. Typically a wideman operating on the left hand side, Diangana had been tearing Championship sides to pieces week in, week out before the coronavirus brought football activity to a stop. Having amassed over 1,300 league minutes this season, let's see what makes the englishman so dangerous.
One of his most dangerous assets and probably the strongest point of his game, Diangana was completing an average 2.3 dribbles per league match, top of The Baggies squad. This, of course, leads to him being fouled 1.4 times per 90, not too surprising given the rag tag style of football played in the Championship. A creator as well as a goalscorer, Diangana had 5 goals and 5 assists for West Brom this season, with 3 of each in 17 starts and 2 of each in 4 substitute appearances, coming to a goal contribution every 137 minutes. Making an impact from the bench.
His creative numbers are nothing to be sniffed at either, with an average 1.3 key passes per league 90, 4th in West Brom's squad behind Matheus Pereira, Callum Robinson and Matt Phillips. Not bad for a 22 year old in his first proper season in professional football (he did manage 600 minutes for West Ham in the 2018/19 season). It's no wonder West Brom sat 2nd in the table prior to football stopping. A pass completion percentage of 80% from an average 25 league passes isn't bad going too.
He doesn't shirk his defensive reponsibilities, ranking 9th in West Brom's squad for tackles with 1.1 per match, accompanied with 0.4 interceptions and 0.6 fouls per 90. That's not a far cry from new West Ham man Pablo Fornals, who has played similar minutes to Diangana this season and racks up 1.3 tackles with 0.6 interceptions per Premier League match. The difference? Fornals cost The Hammers £25m, as reported per Transfermarkt, whilst Diangana has cost nothing, coming through the London club's academy instead.
Still a little raw, Diangana might and possibly should be given a chance to prove himself in amongst the West Ham squad when his loan finishes. An attacking quartet of Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson, Jarrod Bowen and Grady Diangana could cause some Premier League defences some serious problems, conditional of course that The Hammers stay up this season.
Alternatively, were David Moyes to deem him surplus to requirements, there are a whole host of clubs that Diangana could more than turn out for, and valued at a measly £4m by Transfermarkt, the englishman could turn out to be a bargain. Bournemouth could be an interesting choice indeed. Were The Cherries to wriggle free of relegation this season, they will need a Harry Wilson replacement when his loan eventually expires. Diangana could be the man to fill those shoes, and linking up with the likes of Callum Wilson, Josh King and David Brooks could see a spike in his numbers. Let us also not forget that it looks like Ryan Fraser will be going on a free transfer in the summer of 2020, with his contract expiring. Diangana should be on Bournemouth's radar if he isn't already.
West Brom's promotion could see The Baggies buy Diangana outright. He would definitely aid in their push for Premier League survival in their first season back in England's top division. Clearly in comfortable surroundings, Diangana could push on from his current numbers and really showcase his ability in arguably Europe's best league. At a poultry sum of £4m, Bromwich could use their promotion cash elsewhere on the squad too, needing to replace the likes of Matheus Pereira when his loan ends in summer 2020, as well as the ageing Hal-Robson Kanu, Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt. A steal in every definition of the word.
Were Diangana to really push on and improve his numbers, we could potentially see him given an outside shout for future international tournaments, granted he'd be behind the likes of Sterling and Sancho, but he could grow to be a reliable back up to the technical, tricky wingers. He's already proving himself off of the bench, lest we forget.
Either way, watch out for whether David Moyes gives this man a chance to shine, or sends him with bags packed in hand to demolish teams elsewhere.